2015 Volume 27 Issue 2 Pages 421-425
[Purpose] The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a forced-use training program on gait, mobility and quality of life of post-acute stroke patients. [Subjects] Twenty-one individuals with unilateral stroke participated in this study. All participants had suffered from first-ever stroke with time since onset of at least 3 months. [Methods] A single-blinded, non-equivalent, pre-post controlled design with 1-month follow-up was adopted. Participants received either a forced-use or a conventional physical therapy program for 2 weeks. The main outcomes assessed were preferred and fastest walking velocities, spatial and temporal symmetry indexes of gait, the timed up and go test, the Rivermead Mobility Index, and the Stroke-Specific Quality of Life Scale (Taiwan version). [Results] Forced-use training induced greater improvements in gait and mobility than conventional physical therapy. In addition, compared to pre-training, patients in the conventional physical therapy group walked faster but more asymmetrically after training. However, neither program effectively improved in-hospital quality of life. [Conclusion] The forced-use approach can be successfully applied to the lower extremities of stroke patients to improve mobility, walking speeds and symmetry of gait.